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Monday, December 12, 2016

12072016 - Wednesday of Second Sunday in Advent - "9 Ladies Dancing AND 8 Maids A-milking"

December 7, 2016
9 Ladies Dancing AND 8 Maids A-milking
When a child first enters kindergarten, they are required to go through a Pre-School screening.  Here at Emmanuel, we have even hosted these events in the past.  Clearly there is lots of energy with excited children and frazzled parents when that day arrives.  Yet what is interesting is that this ‘snap shot’ of a child’s development and abilities enables the staff to clearly understand the strengths and weaknesses of the student and how to help the student succeed in the near future.
Just as the ‘pre-school’ screening is a tool, our delving into the 12 Days of Christmas Song enables us to learn more about the song and how we can use it as a tool for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So far we have heard about the 12 Drummers Drumming, the 11 Pipers Piping and the 10 Lord’s a Leaping.  Tonight we get a double shot where we can connect and fully understand the “9 Ladies Dancing” and the “8 Maids A Milking”.
Please understand we are not a Vaudeville show tonight with the ladies dancing, but in the 12 Days of Christmas Song the “9 Ladies Dancing” is a reference to our reading from tonight of the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  These 9 fruits are clearly and specifically from God and are to be shared with one another.  As we heard they are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”.  These are fruits, what are to be a result from our daily lives.  At times we have these fruits clearly in our lives and at other times we do not.  Yet, the “9 Ladies Dancing” and these 9 fruits are meant to be shown daily in our lives and in we the members of the church for the spread of the Gospel message.
We are called to ‘love unconditionally’ no matter the person, ‘share the joy of our hearts’ daily, ‘live in peace’ with one another, ‘have patience’ no matter the circumstance, ‘show kindness not just during the holidays’ and ‘share the goodness of Christ with others’.  We as well are to daily ‘demonstrate our faithfulness’ to Christ’s teachings and gladly hear and learn it.  ‘Share the gentleness with those in need’ and ‘have self-control’ in all things.  Are we perfect at this, by no means, this is why they are ‘fruits’.  For the church is a hospital for the sick, a place to refuel to go out into the world.  We come to have the salve of the Gospel of Jesus Christ shared and to share with one another the fruits we have been given with the balm of the Gospel message of what Jesus Christ did for all of mankind.
Yet, we might ask, how can we share these “9 Ladies Dancing”, these 9 Fruits of the Spirit, because the “9 Ladies Dancing” like a mortice joint fit together so well with the “8 Maids A Milking”.  The “8 Maids A Milking” are Jesus own teaching that are best known as the Beatitudes.  The 8 Beatitudes spoken by Jesus are honored in this way by the “8 Maids A Milking” and are meant to open up to us a clear personal opportunity for the application of the ‘fruits of the spirit’.  For the “8 Maids A Milking” provide such spiritual sustenance that point to what God has done in each of us and how God clearly blesses us daily.
For God’s blessing found with each of the “8 Maids A Milking” finds perfect application of, for and with the “9 Ladies Dancing” and perfectly blesses not only those who receive, but also the giver as well.  The blessings received by both parties’ changes the attitude for everyone involved.  Even Scripture not just alludes to this, but in Acts (20:35) says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.  And what better gift to give one another than the truth found in the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When we daily couple and apply to one another the fruits made allusion to with the “9 Ladies Dancing” and the truths of the “8 Maids A Milking” and apply them in our lives the opportunity we have is for a greater impact of the Gospel message.  It is the Gospel message and potential of an eternal impact we can have upon others when we use God’s fruits of the Spirit already given to us and apply these truths sung about in the 12 Days of Christmas for others.  So when we sing of the “9 Ladies Dancing” and the “8 Maids A Milking” we then can use this powerful song in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For no more powerful connection can be made than with song.

Sunday in our Films of Faith Series, we again watched “Silent Night”.  So compelling a story was the writing of “Silent Night” that when on Christmas Eve we hear and sing the simple song, the Gospel message comes alive.  This is the power that even the “9 Ladies Dancing” and the “8 Maids A Milking” can have in sharing what Jesus Christ has done on Calvary for each and every one of us.  May we during the coming weeks not only continue to understand our faith in a deeper and more profound way, but believe that the Fruits of the Spirit and the Beatitudes not only are a gift from God for us, but with the aid of the 12 Days of Christmas Song we can share it with others and point to the love of Christ for all mankind.  For it is Jesus Christ in each of our hearts that enables us to share Jesus with others as we sing about “9 Ladies Dancing” and the “8 Maids A Milking”.  AMEN.

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